John F. Vanner, a URI graduate, enters his 39th year at the University of Rhode Island in 2016. He currently serves as the sport administrator for the football, baseball, men's soccer, golf and rowing programs. Vanner is also the department's liaison to the University's Admissions Office and the Office of Residential Life.
Having worked at the school since 1977, Vanner started as a teacher in the Physical Education Department before switching over to the Athletics Department in 1986.
In 1986, he replaced URI legend Ernie Calverley as the Associate Director of Athletics overseeing the men's program. He is credited with making several coaching hires that helped bring the University's athletics program to the national level.
Vanner's first hire was men's basketball coach Tom Penders, who led the Rams to the NCAA Sweet 16 in his second season in Kingston, bringing basketball back to the national spotlight. He also hired former men's soccer coach Ed Bradley, former baseball coach Frank Leoni, and Hall of Fame golf coach Tom Drennan, who have each both guided their programs to postseason NCAA competition.
He lives in Johnston, R.I. with his wife Cynthia (URI Class of '82). The couple has three childern: John (URI Class of '14), Jessica (URI Class of '13) and Torrey (URI Class of '12).